So you think you know your market, eh? Ok. Say you have an insight of what your target audienceБs wants and needs are. And then you plan your entire marketing activities based on a БguesstimateБ. Uh-OhБ not so advisable. You may have a lot of data coming from different sources, but that means absolutely nothing if you donБt look at it properly and analyse it thoroughly. By properly researching your market, you get one step ahead. You have an advantage against your competitors. Market research is a systematic, objective collection and analysis of data about your target market, competition, and/or environment and your goal should be to increase your understanding of them. What most people forget is this: market research is not an activity conducted only once. It is an ongoing cycle, or at least it should be if you are really going to benefit. The power of information is outstanding when it comes to market research. The information you find can guide your most important strategic business decisions and usually, if done properly, the findings and conclusions you reach have a value that exceeds the cost of the research itself. 1. Market research guides your communication with current and potential customers. Once you have your research results, you should have enough ammunition to formulate the most effective way to communicate to your customers. You should know what they like/donБt like to hear/see/do. Then you can tailor what you say to them to make them take action. 2. Market research helps you identify opportunities in the marketplace. Research might make it obvious that a new product you have planned may not be what your market wants or needs. You may then decide to make modifications on what you are going to offer to suit your audience. 3. бMarket research helps you minimize risks. Through market research, you may find all the information you need to decide whether to take action on a particular subject. For example, you may find that the particular location where you wanted to open a shop already has a saturated market in your line of business, which should make you refrain from making that decision and look for a more appropriate spot. 4.
Market research measures your reputation. ItБs always good to know how you measure against your competitors. Market research finds out just where you are and then, according to the results, you can take action to change perception. 5. бMarket research uncovers and identifies potential problems. You can get consumersБ reactions to a new product or service when it is still being developed. This should enlighten any further development so it suits its intended market. 6. Market research helps you plan ahead. Research can estimate the likely sales of a new product/service and also the advertising expenditure required to achieve maximum profits. 7. б Market research can help you establish trends. If you treat your market research as an ongoing exercise that you do periodically, youБll find that youБll have a lot of data to be able to analyse your customers and establish any particular trends. 8. Market research helps you establish your market positioning. ItБs important to know the position of your business at particular moments in time. Information from market research helps you benchmark and monitor your progress, which can be useful to make decisions and take action. 9. бMarket research can determine the most persuasive БpromiseБ. Every brand needs to make a promise. If you think of the most known brands, they all make a promise to you and you usually know what is by just looking at their logo. It can be security, a fast and tasty meal or the assurance of top technology. It needs to be simple and market research can help you define what your brandБs promise is. 10. Market research can find that compromise. The team involved in the launch of a new product/service all have their individual perceptions and gut feelings. б These certainly should not be ignored, but by going straight to the target audience, you will gain thoughts and opinions from people who may be less biased or less emotionally attached to a new development or service. б It helps gain a new angle, hopefully a compromise in just how you are going to go about a new launch, a new brand or a brand repositioning.
In a nutshell, market research is an invaluable tool that, at first, might seem expensive and slow, but itБs nothing more than an investment. As one of our very good clients always says, Б Best to measure twice and cut once to maximise your returnsБ. If you had the choice of speaking to a good sample of your customers or be left in the dark only with your assumptions, what would you choose? MariliaбSpindlerбis an Account Executive at, a full service marketing agency based in Blackpool, Lancashire. To learn more or contact us please go to
Marketing research is usually the first step in the marketing process, after ideas for products are conceived. Small companies conduct marketing research to obtain information from the marketplace. They use it to solve problems, obtain information on competitors and determine the needs and wants of non-paying consumers and customers. Marketers then analyze the data and develop various marketing strategies. There are several main types of marketing research. Focus groups are usually conducted at focus group facilities. These facilities have one-way mirrors so managers can listen to consumers\’ feedback about their products and services. A moderator, or special interviewer, usually runs the focus group. She develops a discussion guide of five to 10 questions related to the product. She then asks participants various questions about the product. The ideal size for a focus group is six to 10 people. A moderator may speak to customers about a small restaurant\’s new chicken sandwich meal. She may ask them if they like the idea of a new chicken sandwich, how much they would pay for it and whether or not they would purchase it. Companies often use focus groups to narrow several versions of a product down to the best offering. One-on-one interviews are conducted in a similar manner to focus groups, but with one person.
One-on-one interviews go a step beyond typical personal interviews. Company managers use these interviews to watch someone actually use their product. For example, a computer software firm may want to test a new program, so they set up a computer and watch as individuals use the software. Like focus groups, managers observe behind one-way mirrors. Moderators then sit in the room with each person and ask them questions, including how they like the software, or how easy it is to use. Companies then determine whether they need to make changes to the software, based on actual consumer usage. Companies use phone surveys to further validate information obtained from focus groups and one-on-one interviews. Marketers conduct phone surveys among higher numbers of consumers and customers. Consequently, data obtained from the higher number of phone surveys are more indicative of what the average consumer thinks about a particular product or service. For example, a bank may conduct 300 phone surveys to measure how satisfied customers are with its customer service. Marketers would develop a questionnaire from which to ask the questions. They may include key measurable elements like friendliness, timeliness and accuracy in the questionnaire, and then ask customers to rate those elements on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest rating. The bank may ask customers to elaborate on their responses. The bank manager would then use the information to make improvements in customer service. Companies often take marketing research one step further with actual test marketing. For example, the restaurant company may actually roll its chicken meal out into five of its 10 local restaurants, advertising the meal on local television and radio and through coupon magazine ads. Corporate marketing managers may then track sales and profits to validate the success of the new meal. The restaurant would then know if its marketing research was an accurate indicator of success.